Parent company Google has removed two of R Kelly’s YouTube channels for violating its terms of service. R. Kelly TV and R. Kelly Vevo were both taken offline last week after the “Ignition” singer was convicted on all charges of sex trafficking and racketeering.
“We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines,” YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said in a statement, according to the New York Times.
If anyone tries to visit either of Kelly’s official channels, they will encounter a message that says the “account has been terminated for a violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service.” In an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg, YouTube’s head of legal, Nicole Alston, spoke of the decision and said Kelly would not be allowed to own or create any channels in the future.
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“Egregious actions committed by R. Kelly warrant penalties beyond standard enforcement measures due to a potential to cause widespread harm,” Alston wrote. “Ultimately we are taking this action to protect our users similar to other platforms.”
According to YouTube’s terms of service, the company has the right to remove channels is the “creator is participating in abuse or violence, demonstrating cruelty, or participating in fraudulent/deceptive behavior leading to real-world harm.”
The ban is not all-encompassing as YouTube Music still carries Kelly’s songs and other creators are still allowed to upload content related to Kelly.
Advocacy group Mute R. Kelly doesn’t think it’s enough and has called on YouTube – and other streaming platforms – to remove all of R. Kelly’s content. “Waiting on you @youtubemusic, and you too @Spotify @AppleMusic @AmazonMusic, etc. #MuteRKelly #RKellyGuilty #RKelly,” Mute. R. Kelly’s Twitter account tweeted.
Other online users felt the move to censor R. Kelly is still racially motivated. In response to Mute R. Kelly’s tweet, user @lilmackie77 wrote, “use that same energy you have for RKelly to mute Harvey Weinstein, Elvis Pressley, and others…” User @Nosimpingzone added, “Exactly take all miramax and all that sh*t down.”
“YouTube said they removed R Kelly’s channels because their terms of service say you can’t have committed a crime ‘that led to real world harm.’ Sammy The Bull killed DOZENS of people. He HAS A YOUTUBE CHANNEL. And he’s NOT the only one,” user @TheBlackChannel tweeted.
However, YouTube said they have removed channels for similar reasons in the past, including those of Larry Nassar and Austin Jones both of whom are white and were convicted of sex crimes against young women.
“Our creator responsibility guidelines are enforced for channels that are linked to the creator. This is consistent with how we’ve enforced our policies in the past,” a YouTube spokesperson said.
Some social media users still aren’t convinced and pointed to Harvey Weinstein’s movies still being for sale on the platform. “They still have Weinstein films up as well and @YouTube hasn’t made any announcements about pulling those off the platform,” @TexasFBA4Ever wrote.
“Except this is about calling out ANTI-BLACK DOUBLE STANDARDS of the Dominant Society. They attack Black folk all day long, claiming nonsense like @TheBlackChannel pointed out here…while Actual White criminals can continue having a platform for their media unhampered,” @MHadleyImprint tweeted.